MIDDAY UPDATE: Todd dynasty sells $218M stake in Sky TV

By Paul McBeth

Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - The Todd family, one of the country's wealthiest dynasties, has sold its 11 percent stake in pay-TV operator Sky Network Television, ending a relationship that's lasted more than two decades.

The family's Todd Communications unit reaped $218 million from the sale to Credit Suisse Australia, in what Sky TV boss John Fellett called "capital rotation". Fellett said he wouldn't be surprised to see the Todds turn up in a new investment in the coming months.

The Todds are among New Zealand’s richest families. The group appeared on the register in 1997 following Sky’s initial public offering. Sky Network Television as it is known today was created in 2005 when Sky merged with INL and Todd increased its stake.

The shares fell 4.5 percent to $5.12 in trading today.

Tower sells medical insurance unit for $102 mln to Australia's nib

Insurer Tower has sold its medical insurance unit for $102 million to ASX-listed nib holdings and plans to return the cash to shareholders.

The sale comes as Tower's biggest shareholder, Guinness Peat Group, looks to exit its holdings and will go towards accelerating the investment firm's wind-down.

The decision to sell Tower Medical, which has a market share of about 13 percent, came after Tower reviewed all of its insurance businesses this year and concluded it wouldn’t achieve “the necessary scale of return in this business in the immediate future.”

Tower's shares climbed 2.6 percent to $1.98 on the news.

TeamTalk to buy Farmside for as much as $42.1 mln

TeamTalk, the owner of the CityLink fibre-optic broadband service, wants to buy rural telecommunications provider Farmside Group for up to $42.1 million as it looks to grow its footprint beyond urban areas.

The Wellington-based company has agreed to buy Farmside for an upfront payment of $19 million in cash and $12 million in TeamTalk shares, with an additional $7 million cash and $4.1 million in scrip in potential earn-outs over the following 12 months, it said in a statement. The deal is subject to shareholder approval, with a special meeting expected to be held on Dec. 11.

The acquisition will almost double TeamTalk's revenue, with Farmside reporting sales of $25.4 million in the 12 months ended June 30, some 43 percent of pro-forma revenue. Still, the rural telecommunications firm's margins aren't as fat as TeamTalk's with pre-tax earnings of $2.1 million, or about 20 percent of pro-forma earnings before interest and tax.

TeamTalk shares slipped 0.4 percent to $2.61.

Wellington Airport denies reaping excessive profits

Wellington International Airport has scotched draft findings by the Commerce Commission that the transport hub is taking excessive profits.

The airport, co-owned by Infratil and Wellington City Council, claims its effective targeted return on investment is 8.1 percent, within the regulator's approved band. The airport says the regulator focused on a 9.5 percent forecast target and didn't take the airport's commercial concessions into account.

The antitrust regulator estimates the airport’s pricing will achieve a return on investment of 10.18 percent in the period between 2013 and 2017, above the hub’s own 9.5 percent target and in excess of the 7 percent to 8 percent range the commission deems “reasonable.”

(BusinessDesk)

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